Ryan Papenhuyzen learns fate after Melbourne Storm drama leaves NRL world divided

Papenhuyzen came under fire in Melbourne's great escape on Friday night.

Ryan Papenhuyzen has escaped suspension in the NRL after being placed on report for a hip-drop tackle in Friday night's thrilling two-point win over the Canterbury Bulldogs. Josh Addo-Carr's hat-trick looked like clinching a huge come-from-behind win for the Dogs at AAMI Park but the Storm got out of jail with a late try to Shawn Blore and a conversation out wide by Nick Meaney to snatch the 16-14 win.

And the Storm have even more reasons to be happy after Papenhuyzen was on Saturday hit with a $750 fine for the incident with Addo-Carr and crucially avoided being banned. The match review committee handed down their findings on Saturday, with Papenhuyzen's fine increasing to $1000 should he choose to fight the charge and lose. As it stands, he will be available to face the Roosters in Round 7.

Ryan Papenhuyzen was placed on report for a hip-drop tackle during the Melbourne Storm's win over the Canterbury Bulldogs. Pic: Getty/Fox League
Ryan Papenhuyzen was placed on report for a hip-drop tackle during the Melbourne Storm's win over the Canterbury Bulldogs. Pic: Getty/Fox League

Papenhuyzen was rarely far from the action on Friday night, scoring the opening try for the Storm after just two minutes, before being put on report for his hip-drop tackle on Addo-Carr that was picked up by the bunker just before halftime. Papenhuyzen was also sent to the sin bin for a professional foul after being ruled to have pushed Stephen Crichton and stopping him from scoring a try off his own kick.

Both incidents involving Papenhuyzen were divisive for fans, although it was the first half hip-drop that he has more to worry about. The Storm fullback was coming over to stop the Bulldogs flyer in cover defence after Addo-Carr pounced on a kick and attacked the try line.

Papenhuyzen's cover tackle started around Addo-Carr's shoulders and chest but he then slung himself across the Bulldogs winger's body, with his weight coming down on the ankles of his opponent. Rookie referee Wyatt Raymond missed the incident as Addo-Carr got straight to his feet but the bunker picked up on the tackle from Papenhuyzen and commentators suggested he could be a bit of trouble after watching replays.

NRL world reacts to Ryan Papenhuyzen hip-drop tackle

“Ryan Papenhuyzen got this very, very wrong on Josh Addo-Carr,” Fox League's Yvonne Sampson said. Bulldogs great Michael Ennis added: “It’s so hard, he’s coming across, there’s no malice in that at all. He’s trying to save the try there because had Addo-Carr got on his outside. He just loses his legs, lands on the back of his leg, it’s a hip-drop. It got tipped in from the Bunker and there might be some questions for Papenhuyzen to answer and it will be disappointing for Melbourne (if he’s suspended).”

The fact Papenhuyzen stayed on the field was not lost on another former Canterbury great James Graham, who pointed to a similar incident involving Victor Radley last week that saw the Roosters star sin-binned against Canterbury. "It is a hip drop and I know (Roosters) coach (Trent) Robinson and Victor Radley will be watching this and going, what happened last week?," Graham said. "The reason Papenhuyzen doesn't go to the bin is Addo-Carr - he gets straight up."

Papenhuyzen didn't manage to escape a sin-binning in the second half when he was adjudged to have illegally pushed Crichton off his feet as the Bulldogs skipper tried to score a try off his own kick. It came while the Storm had a man advantage after Canterbury's Sam Hughes was sent to the bin minutes earlier and placed on report for a forearm to the head of Christian Welch.

Melbourne Storm's Ryan Papenhuyzen was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul on Canterbury captain Stephen Crichton. Pic: Fox League
Melbourne Storm's Ryan Papenhuyzen was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul on Canterbury captain Stephen Crichton. Pic: Fox League

Crichton accused of a 'dive' as Papenhuyzen sin-binned

Unlike his hip-drop in the first half, much of the consensus from fans online was that Papenhuyzen was unlucky to go to the bin for what appeared to be minimal contact with Crichton. Both incidents proved polarising for viewers, with many insisting Crichton took a dive to win the penalty against Papenhuyzen.

The drama came before a thrilling finale to Friday night's match as the Dogs looked like pulling off an epic comeback win, following a 10-0 halftime deficit that included a Storm try to Reimis Smith after a miraculous kick from as Xavier Coates before he was bundled into touch. Addo-Carr was returning from a concussion but didn't miss a beat as his second-half hat-trick overturned the deficit and put the visitors ahead late in the game.

Addo-Carr's first try came after he ran on to a Bronson Xerri pass and raced 60 metres down the sideline to touch down. The Bulldogs flyer crossed again nine minutes later when their dangerous left side combined and Xerri tapped the ball on for his winger. Moments after both teams had gone down to 12 players, the Dogs went up 14-10 with a long ball out wide from Matt Burton ending with Addo-Carr diving across in the corner.

It appeared the Dogs would leave with a well-deserved victory but the home side had the final say when Blore barged across for the match-winner. "I knew they (Canterbury) were a good side, the way they play their footy really suits the the players they've got and I think they do that really well," Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said.

"They just wouldn't sort of go away, kept turning up and we were a bit the same. It would have been easy for us to sort of give it up when they came back and went ahead of us but we kept hanging in there so it was a tight old tussle." Canterbury coach Cameron Ciraldo said his players were "devastated" to suffer a third-straight loss by four points or less.

with AAP